Sara Swanson

Washtenaw County opposes repeal of Affordable Care Act

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Washtenaw County Commissioners Board. Photo courtesy of

Washtenaw County Commissioners Board. Photo from www.ewashtenaw.org.

The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution Feb. 1 to oppose any repeal or weakening of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The resolution cited the vast number of county residents the ACA has helped, as well as the local economic opportunities it has provided. The resolution passed 8 to 0 with Alicia Ping, Manchester’s commissioner, absent.

“The Affordable Care Act is helping people – the uninsured rate in Washtenaw County has dropped by half since 2010,” says Andy LaBarre, chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. “As a community, we want to support residents’ health and productivity. Maintaining what we’ve gained with respect to affordable health coverage is one clear way to do this.”

The Washtenaw County Board of Health also passed a similar resolution.

“A repeal of the ACA would be detrimental to Washtenaw County in so many ways.” says Felicia Brabec, Washtenaw County Commissioner and member of the Washtenaw County Board of Health. “More people have affordable coverage, and that coverage is not necessarily tied to their employer. This encourages entrepreneurship. It also promotes preventative health care and mental health in our community.”

The Washtenaw Health Plan sent a letter encouraging the continuation of the ACA, and supporting additional efforts to strengthen access to care, to federal legislators. The Board of Commissioners also intend to send the resolution to the federal and state legislative delegations representing Washtenaw County.

Both the resolution and the letter outline how the Affordable Care Act has benefited Washtenaw County. For example, over 16,000 individuals in Washtenaw County have enrolled in the Healthy Michigan Plan (the Medicaid expansion), and 13,500 have enrolled in Marketplace insurance. That is nearly one in ten Washtenaw County residents who now have insurance due to the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act also benefits those who are self-employed or whose employers do not offer them insurance, young adults up to age 26 who can stay on their parents’ health plans, and individuals with pre-existing conditions. A University of Michigan study found that the Medicaid expansion has created 30,000 jobs, and has provided $2.3 billion in economic activity across the state.

Photo of Dexter resident and tap dance instructor, Susan Filipiak, as she tells her story with the ACA on a video on the Washtenaw County Public Health FB page.

Photo of Dexter resident and tap dance instructor, Susan Filipiak. She tells her story with the ACA on a video on the Washtenaw County Public Health Facebook page.

Beginning last month, both President Trump and Congress began taking steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, a single replacement strategy has not yet emerged. The Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation at the University of Michigan has created a a new one-page fact sheet: 022017-aca-repeal-replacement-proposals-action to summarize the most developed ACA repeal and replacement proposals offered to date and outlines the tentative replacement process and a detailed two-page table: 022017-select-affordable-care-act-replacement-plans-implications. The plans vary in their provisions; for instance the replacement proposed by Senators Burr, Hatch and and and Representative Upton, as well as the proposal by Representative Ryan, both preserve the popular provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows adult dependents to stay on their parent’s plan until age 26, while Representative Price’s proposal eliminates that provision completely.

Manchester’s US Congressional Representative Tim Walberg has been a vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act and voted yes on S.Con.Res.3 – a budget resolution to begin the process of repealing the ACA – on January 13, 2017, helping to pass the resolution.

 

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